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Nikhil  Goyal

Nikhil Goyal

Author of Schools on Trial: How Freedom & Creativity Can Fix Our Educational Malpractice


Nikhil Goyal is the author of Schools on Trial: How Freedom and Creativity Can Fix Our Educational Malpractice (Doubleday/Random House, 2016). Goyal has appeared on MSNBC and FOX and written for the New York Times, MSNBC, The Nation, and other publications.  Read More >

He has also had speaking engagements with the Clinton Global Initiative University, Google, Stanford, University of Cambridge, SXSW, LEGO Foundation, among others. In 2012, Goyal was named one of the “World Changers” for Dell #Inspire 100. In 2013, he was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list. He is also a recipient of the 2013 Freedom Flame Award. Goyal serves on the board of The National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest). He lives in New York. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

Corporate Assault on Public Education

We Need to Humanize Schools

Progressive Education

Speech Topics

Transforming Education

In this talk, Nikhil Goyal shines light on the most innovative, student-centered models of learning around the nation. He presents case studies and research that suggest schools are exhausting children’s creativity, curiosity, and love of learning. He draws from many years of reporting and scholarly research on alternative, progressive, and experiential education, the history of public education, play, curiosity, and creativity, and the maker movement.

The Fight Against Corporate, Neoliberal Education Reform

In this talk, Nikhil Goyal exposes the insanity of the corporate education reform agenda from high-stakes standardized testing to privatization to austerity measures. Drawing from his extensive research and experience as a student in the No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top era, he discusses why we need to adequately fund public education, move away from the drill, kill, bubble-fill culture, support teachers and teachers’ unions, and dismantle the standardized testing regime.

Student Voice & Rights

Children are people, too. Nikhil Goyal shows why young people need autonomy, dignity, and rights and deserve to have their voices heard and represented in school. He examines democratic and free schools, where students and teachers participate in democratic meetings and vote on school policies. Later, he discusses student rights, how students can exercise them, and spot incidents where their rights are being violated.

Reinventing College Admissions

For decades, colleges and universities have relied on traditional metrics, like grades and standardized test scores in the admissions process. Nikhil Goyal argues that students are multi-dimensional human beings, not simply numbers in a spreadsheet, and the admissions process should reflect that reality. He traces the history of college admissions, presents the problems with the SAT and ACT, and offers examples of colleges that have gone test-optional and feature innovative admissions processes.